RIASEC theory

The hexagonal model: Matching personalities to occupations

The SDS is a direct product of a theory of personality types and environmental models developed by John Holland.

Holland’s Theory

Holland’s theory posits that people can be categorized according to six personality types—Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional—known collectively as RIASEC. Use the interactive hexagon graphic below to explore the six RIASEC personality types in more detail.


The SDS measures the degree to which you resemble each of the personality types, producing a three-letter Summary Code that expresses the complexity of your personality. For example, a Summary Code of RIA indicates a primarily Realistic, Investigative, and Artistic personality.


According to Holland’s theory, the same personality types—Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional—also apply to work environments, and each environment presents its own specific qualities and challenges. 

Because both personalities and occupations can be classified using the same system, you can use your three-letter Summary Code to locate occupations (or fields of study, or leisure activities) that correspond best with your personality and thus are most likely to satisfy you.

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